Philadelphia 76ers: Dwight Howard can’t guard Joel Embiid

(Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

Despite what the Los Angeles Lakers would have you believe, there’s no way Dwight Howard can guard Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid one-on-one at this stage in his career.

It’s official: Dwight Howard has been bought out of his contract with the Memphis Grizzlies and will sign with the Los Angeles Lakers once he passes through waivers.

Been there, written about that (here), who really cares, right? Well, in a weird twist of fate, the Philadelphia 76ers have been pulled into the team’s decision to sign the eight-time All-Star in a pretty bizarre way.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Anthony Davis, JaVale McGee, and Rajon Rondo met with Howard before his signing and, among other things, presented the former first overall pick with a simple question, “Can we trust you to guard the likes of Joel Embiid? Can we trust you to embrace your role?”

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Now sure, Howard was a borderline historic defender over his first decade in the league, putting up numbers that should enshrine his likeness in the Basketball Hall of Fame among the greatest to ever play the game, but ever since he left the Lakers the first time, and especially since he left Houston for the Atlanta Hawks, the player affectionately known as Superman has been anything but.

Joel Embiid, on the other hand, is firmly on the upward trajectory towards his own Hall of Fame berth – with an offensive skill set that puts even vintage Howard to shame.

While Howard can still keep up his end of the bargain on defense against most opposing centers, as he’s averaged at least a dozen rebounds a game in all but one of his seasons in the NBA, there are very few players who can compete with Embiid in the paint one-on-one, one of whom is his current teammate Al Horford – the very player Dwight replaced in Atlanta.

At the tender age of 33, Howard is no Rudy Gobert, and he’s no Draymond Green, despite what he wants you to believe in another recent interview with Shams.

Despite his pedigree, Howard signed a non-guaranteed contract with the Lakers, and appears to be a longshot to even start over incumbent former Warrior JaVale McGee.

Embiid, on the other hand, is a two-time All-Star game starter, a universal max contract player and inarguably the best center in the league, and at 25-years-old, he’s just entering his NBA prime.

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So yeah, while adding Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers’ roster will undoubtedly make them better as opposed to forgoing a replacement for DeMarcus Cousins, his addition shouldn’t have much of an effect on Joel Embiid or the Philadelphia 76ers, as the two players just aren’t in the same ballpark at this point in their careers.